He might have announced that he is coming back next year on Tuesday night, but Rob Gronkowski humiliated the New England Patriots over the weekend.
In what was a major plug for Monster Energy and the sport of motorcycle racing, Gronkowski met with the media on Saturday at Gillette Stadium while promoting the Supercross event taking place inside the building that day.
There were football questions, of course. And rightfully so.
Gronkowski has not been present for the Patriots’ voluntary offseason workouts, and since the Super Bowl loss, his status for the 2018 season had been in question. Those questions began when he threatened retirement by planting a report that claimed there’s a chance he could walk away from the game and turn to either Hollywood or the WWE, as early as this offseason.
What began as a cheesy sponsorship plug on Saturday, ended as a slap in the face to Bill Belichick, Robert Kraft, and his Patriots teammates who have been working out, voluntarily, across the hall.
That’s right, directly across the hall.
The Patriots locker room and workout facility is a stone’s throw away from the entrance to the media workroom that Gronkowski held his motocross press conference in, where he continued to threaten retirement and make jokes about working hard on his dirt-biking skills this offseason.
It was a horrible look for Gronkowski. And it was a big “F— you” to the organization that currently employs him.
But it was an even worse look for Tom Brady.
There was once a time when I would watch a distraction-filled circus like Gronkowski’s on Saturday and think to myself, “Brady won’t like seeing that.”
That time is not now. And it’s the most troubling aspect of this whole charade.
Instead of calling Gronkowski to remind him of how business is handled in Foxboro, Brady is seemingly on Gronkowski’s side, which, in a way, allowed a bleep-show like Saturday’s press conference to happen in the first place.
Do we really think Gronkowski would’ve taken his offseason mind games to these extremes if Brady was a full participant at voluntary workouts and wasn’t also involved in a cryptic-message-filled beef with Belichick himself? Please.
But what can Brady really say now? Like Gronkowski, he’s also been absent from the team’s offseason workouts.
Brady has clearly taken a side here, whether he wants to admit it or not. And the side he’s taken is the one that’s now beginning to create a distraction, something that someone like Brady usually helps his team try to avoid. Well, there’s no avoiding the fact that Brady’s current offseason mindset has opened the door for someone like Gronkowski to walk into Gillette Stadium in a motocross jumpsuit — while his teammates are working out across the hall — and embarrass his organization.
What I’m calling embarrassing is what some are calling “fun,” as in, “Gronk just wants to have fun.”
Look, if the Patriots’ tight end — who’s still under contract for two more seasons — hosted a Monster Energy circus at the TD Garden, I wouldn’t mind one bit.
But he didn’t do it at the Garden. He did it at Gillette Stadium, during a time in which he was taking a stand to purposely avoid Gillette Stadium. What a joke. Only, it wasn’t really a funny one.
At least, I wasn’t laughing. And I can promise you that Belichick wasn’t either.
If only I could say the same about Brady.